"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.IV Pg.2
November 1943

What The Postman Hands Me

Cled E. Wallace

It is only human that I should be interested as a preacher and writer in the reactions I stir up in people who hear me speak, and read what I write. Of course if I did not think what I say should be said I would not say it. It is not at all surprising that some good people, better than I think I am perhaps, think I should not say some things I say, and the opinions of some of them bring the mail man to my door. Compliments and criticisms often come in the same mail. What makes one smile, makes another frown. The very same thing arouses pleasure in one and bitterness in another. People are that different. I am fairly well acquainted with human nature, especially as it appears in men and women who read papers published by the brethren. This may be a fault, but the consideration of how people will take it enters rather mildly, if at all, in what I write. The visits of the postman lead me to conclude that some think I am better than I am, while others think I am worse than I am. I am what I am. Some even think I use "I" too much. I'm not inclined to argue the point but when I mean "I," I say I, and when I say "I," I mean I. I'd hate to try to get along without "the perpendicular pronoun." I would have a hard time talking about myself without it. "This scribe" and that "editorial we" could not quite do justice to the subject.

Brother C. E. W. Dorris is the champion letter writer. The number I have from him now runs to nine or ten. It is hard to keep count of them. My impression is that they now total around one hundred typewritten pages. They are all about the same style. My reply to the first one was my reply to all of them and took up about three lines. Brother Goodpasture has announced editorially that they are to be published in book form or something like. I have suggested that it might be good advanced publicity to let the first one appear in the Gospel Advocate, as a sort of foretaste of what the readers may expect, but up to date I have had no returns from that suggestion. He has my permission, and I give him my word of honor that I won't sue him for libel if he does so. Since he has given it editorial endorsement, I see no reason now why it should not appear in the Advocate.

A lady Christian who informs me that she is "a widow," and is of the opinion that she wasted a dollar when she subscribed for the Bible Banner, bounces this one off of me.

"I have said for a long time that we have preachers that need to stop preaching for a year and let their practice catch up. I can't admire a preacher that will refer to his aged father as 'the old man'. Read Luke 2:48 and see how it would have sounded for Mary to have said that to her twelve year old son. I know it was spoken in irony but nevertheless it referred to your father in the flesh whom I know and love."

Now, now, lady, don't make it too hard on me. It has been a long time since I couldn't preach better than I can practice. I can preach a perfect gospel but I have never been able, try as I might, to live a perfect life. You seem to have things "hind part back'ards" as the saying goes. I'm a pretty good preacher, and I could never catch up with my preaching in one year's 'time. I doubt if I ever catch up. That's just an old saw you heard somebody get off somewhere. There isn't much to it. However, I do think we ought to keep trying:

Now, I did refer to my "aged father as 'the old man'." He is not so "aged" as you might think. Fact is, he's an active old codger, pretty fast on his feet as well as in his head. Of course it wouldn't have sounded quite right for Mary to have called her "twelve year old son" "the old man," but why should she? He wasn't her "old man," he was her son. Looks to me like you're clear off the subject. But you "know it was spoken in irony." You don't know any such a thing. It was pure unadulterated affection and came out of my heart with more meaning than classic endearments mouthed by plaster saints. Some people appear to get mighty little out of life, either from experience or observation. I have tousled my boys around from the time they were able to walk and gleefully asked: "How do you like your old man?" The youngest of the lot is about six feet tall. He is the only one at home. All my old lady has left of her ample flock is this one chicken and the old rooster. She sees the others only occasionally. When one of these big fine sons of mine lays his hand tenderly on my shoulder and says: "Well, how's my old man feeling this morning?" do you think for a minute that I detect any signs of disrespect? Applesauce! I feel as proud as "the old man" can feel. My father has at least as much sense as I have, even if some others do not. I'm still mighty proud of "my old man." He's tops. And it doesn't worry me much if some of the sob-sisters don't like it.

Another dear lady, a spinster this time, over Tennessee way, is inclined to compare conscientious objectors with Daniel in the lions' den and other heroes of faith who have insisted on obeying God rather than men. This, is of course, a begging of the question, but pointing that out to her would no doubt have little effect in changing her opinion about my way of saying things. According to her the case generally is next to hopeless. Says she

"I have searched the brotherhood in vain for a religious paper to send the boys gone from our congregation into service to help them keep the Faith, and I have found none that would help or comfort them."

Well, now, that's a revelation to me. I was under the impression that it would not take a very wide search in "the brotherhood" to find most anything in the way of a religious paper from mushy softness to Puritan severity. Since our worried sister cannot find it in "the brotherhood" she might contact a peddler for the Salvation Army periodical. It has a periodical title, though, which might be offensive to soldiers. She may have to "sit here helpless" by the side of Jimmie Lovell. Personally, I know soldiers, preach to them, comfort them, help them, know how they feel, and have a couple in the family. I suggest that the sister send them the Bible Banner. Most of them will like it and it will do the rest of them good.

P. S. Since the family has got into the discussion, I have a daughter, too. She's a sweet young thing, off in school. She doesn't call me "the old man." She says "Aw, Daddie-e-e-e-e-e" and looks as pleased as spring sunshine. I have a three-year old grandson, too, and he sometimes says things his mother spanks him for, and his Grand Dad wishes she hadn't.